PinkTober is here and I am ecstatic to share on the twisted politics of dreadlocks. Considering how our black hair is always politicized; intentionally or not. If you’re new here we’re doing a blog series dubbed (BTS)Bold type Series. It looks at women who dare to challenge the status quo and continue to thrive on challenges. I promise not to spoil for you if you haven’t watched the movie or read the book. I have ras baby Bilha Nangira, here today to share on this. But before we get into it, here’s one short amazing History lesson;
Quick History Session.
Some argue that dreadlocks originated from Biblical character Samson. Others say it hailed from the Hindus in the nineteenth century. Although I like to think Ava Duverbay, Whooping Goldberg and Ms.Lauryn Hill are the ones that made the style trend; It is actually the Jamaican religious movement, Rastafarianism that serves as living proof for the popularity of dreadlocks. It was symbolic of the spiritual journey. You can get the vibes even with Bob Marley’s Music.
1. What is the twisted politics of dreadlocks about?
The twisted politics of dreadlocks is not easy to describe. We all prefer to think that dreadlocks are inappropriate for any official occasions or professionals. Imagine our President with Dreads, or your fave TV presenter with them and them doing their job. What do you think?
“Every loc wearer has a different approach to their hair, all come from different backgrounds, with different experiences. In some instances, the only thing they might have in common is their locs. Regardless, society will lump them into the same monolithic category or have people see them in a way that they have absolutely no control over. Prof.Ashe shares in an interview with Nylon Mag.
Back to our Ras Baby; Who is she in a nutshell?
Bilha Nangira, a 21-year-old statistics student, daughter, sister, and friend. I love my hair and the ease that comes with taking care of it and to some extent, it does help express who I am.
2. Why would you chose locs given the twisted politics of dreadlocks?
I guess I had entertained the idea of getting locs for some time but I hadn’t done enough research which was my first mistake. After high school, I embraced the freedom to switch up my hairstyles. I was excited but it soon became a struggle. (Don’t we all relate?)
I also didn’t enjoy the process of looking for new hairstyles. This wasn’t a struggle I was ready to take up so this one time I went to the salon to blow-dry my hair and spontaneously decided to get locs instead. Haha, this was a big mistake. I left the salon looking ridiculous. The loctician had little experience and ended up using so much wax that it didn’t dry up after getting into the drier. In the end, I had white hair! This is the part I thank everyone who saw me in that state and didn’t get me a nickname or ask too many questions, thank you!
3. How did you salvage the situation?
I later combed them out- which was painful since I hadn’t done my research (the second mistake, if we’re counting, haha) and tried out the naturalista way of life which I found out a few months later wasn’t for me. Power to all who can manage their manes. By this time I had done my research thoroughly. How thick do I want them? What determines the thickness of my locs? Which method of locking did I want to use? Which product did I want to use when locking? What’s the average price per retouch and can I be able to maintain that lifestyle? Etc. Pinterest came through for me big time and so did the different locticians I had interacted with.
(I told you this is the twisted politics of dreadlocks.)
4. Curious to hear what stage you are at? Pre-loc, budding, growing, atrophy or mature stage?
(Yes, the twisted politics of dreadlocks comes in stages.)
After doing my bit I decided it was time to start my journey, yes it’s a whole journey with stages! I started out when my hair was neck length back in December 2015. I enjoyed all my stages and I currently have mature locs. Mine took close to six months to fully lock. Most people can’t imagine getting locs because of how much patience it needs and they find them not to be as versatile as ‘free’ hair, which I don’t think is true.
(I share the former school of thought)
5. How do you maintain your dreadlocks?
My mantra is ‘Less is more ’ when it comes to hair maintenance. I know its the (twisted politics of dreadlocks). There ’s the issue of product build-up. I recommend that one pays attention to the ingredients used in your products. I normally use a mix of honey, aloe vera, water. Although it doesn’t give as much shine as the wax, it’s organic. If I’m being brutally honest, my first time with wax ruined it for me. About retouching, I do it after two months depending on how neat I want them to look. I personally believe locs are most beautiful when you can’t see one’s scalp. In other words, they are thick. But to each to each their own. However, it’s worth noting that retouching too frequently will lead to thinning and eventually breakage of locs.
6. Contrary to popular opinion, what’s your honest opinion on wearing locks at work or in official places?
I think we are at a time when locs aren’t associated with negative traits and so they are now more common in the workplace. Hair is just that, hair. It does not affect my reasoning or productivity in any way. (I told y’all its the twisted politics of dreadlocks). If I were to cut mine today, I’d still be me. I genuinely don’t understand why it would ever be an issue in the workplace. Locs can be styled in many ways that are considered appropriate in the workplace, depending on your line of work
7.Lastly, what essential hair advice do you have for those starting their dreadlock hair journey/ or wish you would have known as you were starting out?
To anyone planning on starting their dreadlock hair journey, do your research!! Realize that you can’t have locs that look identical to another person’s. Be prepared to go through an awkward stage which doesn’t have to be awkward. But just in case, have some turbans for that or braid your hair- yes, that’s possible.
Be patient, they won’t happen overnight. Enjoy and love your hair at every stage. Soon you’ll be able to color it but always remember to research whenever you want to make some ‘drastic’ changes to your hair eg its color. This is why I call it the twisted politics of dreadlocks.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! All the juice on the twisted politics of dreadlocks
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Feel free to interact with her across all social media; (Nangira)
Photo credit; Nylon Mag, Njeri for Nangira’s photos)